Random and long URLs with random characters don’t look pretty. If you have such URLs on your website, it’s about time that you SEO optimize those URLs. One of the critical factors that positively contribute to the user experience is SEO friendly URL. An astounding fact is that there are over 1.2 trillion searches yearly and 3.5 billion searches daily. A good URL structure can undoubtedly improve the visibility of your website on search engines.
Let’s cover some basic questions to get rolling.
What is a URL?
URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. It is a web address we enter on the browser to access the page or certain information we are looking for.
What are the parts of a URL called?
The below image shows that parts of a URL include protocol, domain name, top-level domain, and the path.
The protocol refers to the method by which computer networks exchange data. For example, HTTPS signals it’s a secure network website with such protocol have a SSL certificate. HTTP signals that such websites have an insecure data exchange network.
A domain name is a unique identifier associated with a physical IP address. As numbers are difficult to remember, unique domain names make websites accessible to online users.
- Top-Level Domain
Top-Level Domain or TLDs are extensions of domain names, such as “.io” used for Replug URL shortener. The most popular TLD is “.com” as 54% of global users use this domain.
A path directs users to a specific page of the website. For instance, the URL path leads to the Replug website’s features web page in the above image.
What are SEO Friendly URLs?
SEO Friendly URLs are well-structured and use relevant keywords to help visitors understand what the web page is about.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. A dominant factor involves practices to improve your website ranking and lead quality traffic through organic search.
With the evolution in the market, SEO is getting complex and has been changed more than ever. However, you can still seek a piece of knowledge, implement your learning to rank your website and make enormous differences.
A well-structured SEO helps to magnify the user experience by sharing a concise, simple, and SEO friendly URL. It is painless to share SEO friendly URLs. Optimized URLs can appear at the top of the search engine results page.
How to Make a SEO Friendly URL?
In this post, learn the perfect way to create SEO-friendly links using a powerful tool like Replug, optimize your URL for SEO, and you are well on your way to becoming a savvy SEO.
Let’s get to it.
1. SEO Friendly URL Slug
What is a URL Slug?
A URL slug is the URL path that directs users to a particular website’s webpage. In addition, it signals users about the content of that webpage. You can optimize this part of the URL by making it more readable and relatable to the content of the webpage. Look at the below image for a better understanding.
Users are less likely to click a URL that looks suspicious. URLs with special characters are confusing and can negatively affect SEO. Also, avoid numbers in a URL as it can lead to more complications.
For example, you have a blog title of 5 tips to create a SEO Friendly URL or SEO trends of 2021. Now you want to update the blog and add more information, requiring you to set 301 URL redirections. However, changing the URL can cause a loss of backlinks. So when you change a URL and redirect the old pages to the new ones, ensure the content matches the focus of the old ones.
Here’s a statement of John Mueller on this matter.
“The bigger effect will be from changing a lot of URLs (all pages in those folders) – that always takes time to be reprocessed. I’d avoid changing URLs unless you have a really good reason to do so, and you’re sure that they’ll remain like that in the long run.”
2. Choose a Top-Level Domain
There are many determinants for a website ranking, but a top-level domain is one of the best parts to consider.
First thing first: you need to buy a new website name with the domain extension.
There are many extensions like edu, gov, net, com, Etc. Although the most widespread and used by marketers is ‘.com’. Choosing a perfect domain extension for your website is not an easy nut to crack.
Let me give you an example for your better comprehension.
There are two central parts of the domain:
- Top-level domain
- Second-level domain
I’m sure you guys know Shane Barker and its digital marketing consultant website.
Shane Barker’s complete domain name is Shanebarker.com. ‘.COM’ is a top-level domain (TLD), and Shane Barker is a brand name, i.e., a second-level domain.
TLD doesn’t impact the search engine, but it does the customers. Your audience trusts your brand. Therefore, creating a better user experience for your customers promotes growth in the competitive market.
3. Keep URL Length Short
To optimize the website ranking on SERP, you must consider the URL length.
Backlinko reports that short URLs perform better than longer URLs on search engines.
When asked on the same matter, Google’s John Mueller stated,
“The direct answer is no. The URL length doesn’t matter. We use URLs as identifiers. It doesn’t matter how long they are.”
A short URL is more appealing than a long URL. It assists users in typing, further enriches the user experience, and increases CTR. So, make it convenient for Google to digest what your page is all about.
Do you know how many characters are allowed in a URL?
Max URL length is 2048 characters.
Another study of Backlinko revealed that the average URL length for a top 10 results in Google is 66 characters.
So it is pretty simple: the shorter, the better.
From a user experience perspective, long URLs are more complicated, messy, and hard to remember. It also makes your URL structure more intricate. Therefore, we have one of the best services for shortener links, i.e., Replug.
The more content you share, the more appreciation and attention your brand gets.
4. Avoid Complete Blog Title as your URL
The reason to avoid having blog titles as your URL is because it can take unnecessary characters. Long blog titles result in long URLs. So optimize your URL by removing stop words and choosing a relevant focus keyword related to that web page. Don’t add irrelevant keywords or remove stop words from your URL that make little sense. The aim should be to create descriptive URLs, so the user is not confused about the content.
5. Get Rid of the Stop Words
Here we talk about another prominent factor is ‘Stop words’
Do you know what exactly stop words mean?
Stop words are immensely ordinary words that search engines like Google can dismiss. Google can skip-stop words to save more space in the database and speed up your crawling and indexing process.
Stop words like:
- for, Etc.
Stop words don’t hurt the SEO and carry a little weight as a ranking factor. But, they impact the excessiveness of usage that might affect creating a SEO friendly URL.
Let’s say we searched for ‘the link-building strategies’ in 2021. Google search engine eliminates the words ‘the’ and ‘in ‘ and grants you results for link-building strategies 2021 that don’t change the meaning of your query.
Google is one of the most immeasurable search engines that give you the most relevant answers to your query by working smartly rather than harder.
6. Use Lowercase
Although, most web servers treat lowercase and uppercase letters in the URLs as the same. However, some web servers can treat them differently, which can cause issues of duplicate content. However, WordPress users should not worry, as it automatically puts URLs in lowercase and adds hyphens.
7. Use Hyphens & Not Underscores
You have two main options to count when it comes to adding spaces between words in the URL.
Google prefers hyphens more than underscores. Using hyphens creates ease for Google’s web crawl to understand, estimate the information that your website has and aids you to generate steady results.
It also aids the audience to determine, read what your website is all about, and make it more visible on search engines.
For instance, you can add an underscore between the words ‘ecommerce_website’, then Google interprets it as an ‘ecommercewebsite’ instead of an ‘ecommerce website’, which is tricky to perceive.
Simple URLs provide the best user experience. Optimize URLs with descriptive keywords that give an idea about the page content.
You want to optimize your URLs because it helps search engines deliver relevant results to searchers, so searchers know exactly what they’ll see if they click the link.
8. Add Canonical Tags
Sometimes people can end up with the same content on two different web page versions.
What to do in this case?
Add a canonical tag to the webpage that tells search engines about the original copy of the URL webpage. Canonical tags solve duplicate content issues on multiple URLs. Look at the below example of how canonical tags work.
9. Keyword Optimized URL
Ah! Keywords in a URL are something marketers are keen to learn about it.
Adding keywords in URL gives you a slight boost to your ranking factor and improves the user experience.
According to John Mueller, the Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, keywords in URL have a minor impact on the ranking factor, but they aren’t necessary to continue.
If you have a URL that isn’t keyword-rich, you don’t need to rebuild it to include keywords.
Let’s say you want to create a new one. At this moment, add 1-2 targeted keywords to the URL. Never repeat a keyword in a URL. Google will never reward you if you use repetitive keywords in a URL more than once.
Keywords in a URL increase the CTA, give the audience an idea about the website or what kind of content they might find on the website, and make it easier for the search engine to crawl.
When you’re focusing on keywords, there’s one thing you should keep in mind. Attempt to concentrate on the short URL rather than the long URL.
A lengthy URL is a terrible idea. However, here are two URL examples for you to consider:
Bad URL example: https://www.replug.io/best-linkedIn- post -ideas- to- publish- more- content
Good URL example: https//www.replug.io/-best-LinkedIn-post-ideas/
10. Prefer Static Over Dynamic URL
In the next step, you must look into two types of URLs after adding keywords to URLs.
Static VS Dynamics: Which one is better?
Static URLs are more SEO friendly, simple to digest for the audience, effortless for search engines to work with, and index faster than dynamic URLs.
There are three good reasons for static URLs:
- It assists you to improve CTA
- Easy to understand, copy, and paste
- Can include an anchor text for links
Dynamic URLs are less SEO friendly, append UTM parameters, and are complex to understand the URL structure. Instead, brand your links using a URL shortener, as it gives you more control over your URL links through the power of customization and tracking.
11. Create a Sub-domain If Necessary
The primary domain can also have sub-domains. The name of the sub-domain comes before the main domain. For example, Replug also has several sub-domains i.e.
Is sub-domain better for SEO?
Sub-domains improve navigation and organize your website. The end goal of SEO is to improve user experience, and sub-domains just do that. It is unnecessary to create a sub-domain unless the situation requires you to do so. If you are serving markets of multiple regions, then sub-domains can be useful. Then again, you can use traffic routing features that help the same way without creating a sub-domain. You can create sub-domains to target a specific market or different keywords.
12. Hide the www and HTTPS Prefix
It’s unnecessary to include these prefixes as it’s already understood that they are part of the domain. The lock icon shows that the website is secure. Create SEO friendly URLs by hiding the “www” prefix and redirecting the “www” version to the domain without the prefix.
13. Avoid Unnecessary URL Sub-folders
The fewer sub-folders, the better SEO friendly URL you will have. Creating short URLs also improves the user experience.
Start Creating SEO Optimized URLs
The URL structure of a website can differ depending upon the website’s needs.
Here we have discussed various methods for creating a SEO friendly URL. If you build a new website or not, SEO friendly URL plays a significant part in determining your SEO success.
Try to make your URL short, concise, and straight to the point. You can use a URL Shortener to optimize your URLs and track the performance of your URLs.
Having a SEO friendly URL improves your user experience while increasing your chances of a higher search engine ranking.
Sadia Umer works on putting together high-quality content for Replug customers to read. When she isn't writing, she can be found reading and trying random life experiments.